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Reading Lists: Are they important?

Oprah’s, The New York Times Bestsellers, Calcott, Calvert’s, Newberry, and every school in the US have them, along with every library system. You can find them for picture books, religious groups and nearly every sub group out there. But are they really necessary? Why do we have reading lists? They are intended to showcase certain ideals or stories, but most people, I have discovered, tend to use them as a way to avoid certain books.

What are your ideas?


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The Importance of Magazines

As someone who is more technologically old fashioned I feel like I need to step up and defend older art forms.

While electronic forms of reading are more eco-friendly there is something to be said about keeping physical magazines. There have been many discussions and studies about the physical handling of magazines (and other printed media) helping one understand the importance of the reading material, and many others about the waste that producing them creates.

But this is not about any of that.

Magazines are transient parts of culture. Cheaply (for the most part) made and easily discarded. The information on them is direct and compelling, offering people a glimpse of what they have never experienced before. Magazines offer children the chance to read materials and discover other things they might find intriguing. They create rabbit holes of interest and enjoyment.

Zines (home made  magazines) have given fans a chance to see their work in print and to share ideas & tales to the outside world. They have allowed the strange, out of the box thinkers a chance to find like minded fellows and realize that they are not alone. Sometimes this will encourage them to be more of themselves and bloom, othertimes it will just keep them from wilting.

Zines can become magazines, as some did back in the early days of the 20th century when science fiction was still in its early stages. Asimov and others have printed them on cheaply made paper, kept hidden behind the bookstore’s counter or on racks in the back.

But like everything, magazines caught the general media’s eye and thus had it’s own heyday. For a span of my lifetime they were everywhere and on every obscure subject. Five different ones on the history of stain glass printed monthly, 20 different ones on sewing printed monthly.  News, gossip, sports and alternative ones printed weekly. All sent to every bookstore in packs of 30. When the new issue came in, the covers of the unsold old ones were ripped off and returned to the publisher for credit. The books themselves were trashed. (later recycled) Never to be seen again.

All hat information lost to time.

If you were lucky the library might have the copy you missed, but they wouldn’t keep them past a year. If you could afford it, you could order back issues from the printer, but even then sometimes you were out of luck.

While out dated, older magazines can offer insights to how people thought in that era. The illustrations and photos can show us things that have been lost to time. And sometimes we can discover stories that have been forgotten, or that have inspired others into greatness.

SO next time when you are out at a bookstore, an old bookshop or a yard sale don’t pass the dusty pile of old magazines by. Give them, and yourself, a chance to shine.

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Found items: Fly-aways or ephemera?

Today I discovered another thing left behind in a book. A business card from the 1960’s or earlier. I know because the phone number had letters in it, which was not used after area codes started and party lines were dropped.

This card has been placed in a box with other’s of its ilk. Over the years I have found many items that people have used instead of bookmarks: love letters, grocery lists,earrings, feathers,broken chain bracelets, coupons, cancelled checks, postage stamps, clean candy wrappers and business cards.

Lately it has been more business cards, as they have become more prevalent in our society in the last decade or so. Some of these items have been tossed, others have been “sold” on Listia and other sites for cryptocurrency, but most I have saved as a way to glimpse a bit of the past.

One thing I have rarely found left in books are book marks. Considering I see hundreds of types in every store that sells anything close to a book or journal, one might think that there would be more left behind in the pages of a returned library book. Sadly, for me, this is not the case.

Since childhood people always have given me bookmarks, and yet sadly I have never really used them. Where are you to put it when you are reading on the train or bus? And some are bulky and damage the spine. So while beautiful or thoughtful they have proven, to me at least, to be more art than practical. But is this the same for all readers?

So here is the thing….

What do you call the items that are used instead? Are they still book marks? When they are left behind do they change titles?  Are they mementos? Fly-aways? Ephemera?

No one really knows. Biblio groups all use their own names and classifications. A few years back the I-Love-Libraries  group wrote a post on it and quoted an article about it as well. (see below). Perhaps, in generations to come, people will treat them as historical treasures. Or perhaps just throw them away.

Either way I count it as a surprise to find them and collect them just the same.

Posted by I Love Libraries on Tuesday, June 11, 2013

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Sad tidings

The last few months have brought some changes.

The White Elephant in Crawfordville Florida has closed down. All of our inventory have been removed and we are currently looking for another vendor spot.

We have moved our storage to another spot in Tallahassee and a good portion of our inventory was damaged by weather.

But we are still putting more books onto